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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:22 am
Author: Anthea
There's no such thing as humane
meat or eggs. Stop kidding yourself

A few years ago I wanted to visit the best egg farm I could find. I had been inside an egg factory farm. I had seen a dozen sheds, each with a dozen rows of wire cages stacked two high and 150ft deep. Those cages were so small the birds inside couldn’t even spread their wings. They were half-starved, diseased, and undeniably miserable

Factory farming was clearly wrong, so I wanted to instead find a farm that represented an ethical and humane way to raise animals for food.

Fortunately some small farms, such as those who set up stands at farmers’ markets, are willing to let people visit their facilities. So in March 2016, I drove from my home in San Francisco up California’s northern coast, through towering redwoods and past crashing waves, to one of the best egg farms in the state.

The award-winning farm was nestled in a landscape of bucolic green grass and rolling hills. It looked like it came straight out of an advertisement. I saw a charmingly rundown-yet-functional mobile chicken coop standing in a football-field-sized pasture peppered with free-roaming chickens.

I thought to myself, why couldn’t all farms be like this? I had seen what happened behind the locked doors of factory farms, but here I seemed to be witnessing a better way. I would soon learn just how wrong I was.

Americans care about farmed animal welfare. In fact, last week California passed a ballot measure for cage-free eggs with 61% of the vote, a rare level of agreement in these divided times. In 2016, a similar initiative in Massachusetts succeeded with 78%.

Consumers go out of their way to buy cage-free or pasture-based eggs or buy meat at the local farmers’ market. My colleagues and I ran a survey in 2017 that showed that 75% of US adults believe they usually eat meat, dairy, and eggs “from animals that are treated humanely.” In fact, when vegans ask their friends to stop eating animals, one of the most common responses they hear is, “Don’t worry. I only eat humane meat.”

Are consumers right? It’s impossible for all of them to be. Data on the number of animals per farm in the US suggests that over 99% of US farmed animals live on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, commonly known as “factory farms”. Globally, that figure is probably over 90%.

So 75% of Americans think they consume humane meat, but a tiny fraction actually do. The majority of consumers seem tragically wrong about what they eat.

Take cage-free eggs, for example. Just because the birds aren’t in cages doesn’t mean they’re healthy or happy. Cage-free birds have around the same total space per bird; they just live in a large shed with thousands of other birds.

In this stressful environment, birds frequently peck each other so much that they lose feathers, bleed, and even die from what is effectively cannibalism caused by the birds’ high-density confinement. The air quality on cage-free farms tends to be worse as chickens walking around kick up dust and feces, which threatens food safety.

Raising chickens on pasture avoids some of these issues, but it invites new problems. Pasture-based flocks suffer due to predation and disease from wild animals.

By some measures grass-fed cow farming is potentially worse than grain-fed cow farming. Grass-fed cow farming leads to two to four times more production of methane, a major greenhouse gas, than grain-fed cow farming. It also takes more land, water, and fossil fuels to produce grass-fed beef. Buying “grass-fed” or “pasture-raised” can be seen as a salve for the environmental conscience, but the damage can actually be greater.

Maybe there are some rotational, labor-intensive methods that do reduce environmental impact. However, eco-conscious animal farming does little to mitigate health concerns aside from the overuse of antibiotics. And the animal suffering, especially on chicken farms, is still staggering.

You may be thinking that even if the vast majority of farms still have serious issues, surely at least a few farms have happy animals.

This response is valid, to an extent. Where I grew up in rural Texas, I lived around pasture-raised cattle who seemed perfectly content to chew their cud. I helped raise a handful chickens and goats myself. Yes, their slaughter might be a terrible experience, but it seems plausible that one day of even suffering might not outweigh a few years of happy cud-chewing life.

When people call upon the idea of ethical animal farming – even if that constitutes little or none of their actual consumption – it has dangerous effects as a “psychological refuge” they indirectly use to justify their consumption of factory farmed products.

Most Americans have been exposed to the realities of animal farming from hundreds of undercover investigations over the years and dozens of scientific reports on the industry’s environmental and public health impacts.

But their minds resolve this conflict between their values and their behavior by insisting that they eat a humane kind of meat that doesn’t cause animal suffering or environmental damage.

Their other options are to stop eating animal products or to accept that what they’re doing is harmful, and neither of these options are particularly appealing. This is why we see 75% of US adults thinking they eat humane meat, despite fewer than 1% of farmed animals actually living on non-factory farms.

Ethical farming – nice try

At the California egg farm I visited, the devil was in the details. Despite the pastoral scenery, I found that the birds were in worse health than those of any other farm I’d been to. I saw many cases of Marek’s, a highly contagious disease that had led to partial blindness in many of them; swollen abdomens, some with over a pound of fluid buildup in their less-than-five-pound body;and lice.

Like the hens in factory farms, many of them suffered and died from cancer, stuck eggs, reproductive tract infections, and other ailments that result from artificial breeding for hyperactive reproductive systems that make them lay unnatural numbers of eggs.

When I visited the farm, I sincerely wanted to believe that these animals had good lives, but the evidence just wasn’t there to support it. It wasn’t as bad as the factory farms I visited, but it still wasn’t the kind of life I’d want to live myself.

Of course, the current scarcity of humane animal farms doesn’t preclude their theoretically possibility. But consider the cost: the eggs at the farm I visited cost over $6 per dozen. Hardly anyone is willing to pay that much for food, and that farm still had serious ethical problems.

I was disappointed by the visit to this farm and other farm visits, as well as evidence from hundreds of other visits to “humane” farms by animal protection advocates and investigators. Mercy For Animals, the international non-profit animal protection organisation, says it randomly selects farms to investigate, and other groups have specifically sought out farms with leading humane certifications in order to show that even the animals on those farms still suffer tremendously.

Time to abolish factory farming

We would need extensive regulations and enforcement to maintain high animal welfare throughout the industry. This would include the expenses of regular independent inspections and livestreamed security footage at all facilities.

Consumers or taxpayers would also need to pay for direct costs such as more space per animal, an army of veterinarians and medical supplies for sick animals, and a reversion of the artificial breeding that has made animals grow meat and produce milk and eggs at ultra-fast rates. That level of welfare doesn’t exist at the very best farms today, so even the steep price tag of the eggs from the pasture farm I visited is still too low to guarantee that the animals have good lives.

So even if humane animal farming is possible in theory, and maybe even real in a handful of isolated cases, it can’t feasibly feed around 10 billion people by 2050.

The fact is that when we use animals as raw materials or labor in the food system this inevitably leads to mass cruelty because cheap prices and profits will always come before their welfare.

This means we need to take a position against animal farming. Then I think we’ll be on track to end all animal farming. ... -XNG5pwLEc

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:28 am
Author: Anthea
Arnold Schwarzenegger Loves
Plant-Based Food More Than Meat

Sonoma County Fair replaced the cruel tradition of children wrangling piglets for fun with watermelons

The 83-year-old fair, which took place earlier this month, previously featured the “pig scramble,” an event where a group of elementary school kids descend upon a pack of recently weaned piglets under the blistering August sun.

In yesteryear, winners got to keep their captive pigs. But in modern times, winners receive a gift certificate. This year saw to the start of a new, kinder tradition where 20 elementary schoolers attempted to be the first to make it through an obstacle course while carrying an oiled watermelon.

Sonoma County Fair board officials acknowledged that as the local community has a heightened awareness of animal welfare, it was time for the pig scramble to end.

“It’s just the right thing to do. We don’t want to see any of the animals get stressed out or hurt,” Annette O’Kelley, a board member of 19 years, told The Press Democrat.

What’s to Love About Pigs?

Pigs are intelligent, social animals who use more than 20 different oiks, grunts, and snorts to communicate. They are one of the few species to pass the “mirror test” — considered a sign of self-awareness — where they are able to use a mirror to find hidden food in a room.

Like dogs, pigs like to play fetch, can learn tricks, and are always curious about the world around them. Naturalist Lyall Watson wrote in his 2004 book “The Whole Hog”: “I know of no other animals that are more consistently curious, more willing to explore new experiences, more ready to meet the world with open mouthed enthusiasm. Pigs, I have discovered, are incurable optimists and get a big kick out of just being.”

But life for factory farmed pigs is very different. Every year, 121 million pigs are killed for food in the U.S., according to animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). On factory farms, pigs are confined to cramped, filthy spaces until they are loaded onto transport trucks and shipped to the slaughterhouse.

Factory farm environments can be damaging to pigs’ mental health; they are known to self-mutilate or cannibalize other pigs, chew on metal bars, and exhibit other stereotypic behaviors, a 2017 study from the College of Animal Science and Technology revealed.

Speaking about replacing the pig scramble with a watermelon event, PETA caseworker Gemma Vaughan said: “It shows there’s always a creative option to animal cruelty.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he now loves plant-based foods more than meat

The former bodybuilder and filmstar makes the claim in “The Game Changers” documentary, which is set to be screened in a global theatrical event in September.

“The Game Changers” posted an exclusive clip of Schwarzenegger on its Instagram account. Talking about his bodybuilding days, he says, “I ate a lot of meat — I ate my 10, 15 eggs a day. I had my 250 grams of protein in a day because I weighed 250 pounds.”

“As I got older and I started reading up on it, I recognized the fact that you really don’t have to get your protein from meat — or from animals,” he continues. “So we started going more in the direction of a vegetarian kind of diet. Now we’re doing it the right way, with spices, and all of a sudden, I love it much more than the meat.”

The switch has been beneficial for the actor’s health. He adds, “the cholesterol went down to around 109, it was the lowest that it ever was in my entire life, at almost 69.”

‘The World’s Most Dangerous Myth’

Schwarzenegger co-produced “The Game Changers,” which was directed by Academy Award-winner Louie Psihoyos (2009’s documentary “The Cove” about the Taiji dolphin hunt in Japan) and executive produced by Academy Award-winner James Cameron (“Avatar,” “Titanic”).

It stars a number of plant-based athletes, including Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, lifter Kendrick Farris, tennis star Novak Djokovic, and Olympic cyclist Dotsie Bausch. The documentary predominantly follows James Wilks, an elite special forces trainer, who is “on a quest for the truth behind the world’s most dangerous myth: that meat is necessary for protein, strength, and optimal health.”

According to Schwarzenegger, this myth has come about because of marketing. “There’s no one that can relate better to that than I do because I have lived in that world,” he says in an earlier trailer for the film. “They show these commercials — burgers, George Foreman Grill, big sandwiches and all that stuff.”

“This is great, great marketing by the meat industry,” he continues. “Selling the idea that real men eat meat. But you’ve got to understand: that’s marketing.

That’s not based on reality.” ... uz8gRm1fGI

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:38 am
Author: Anthea
Air pollution could be
affecting mental health

Air pollution could be causing mental health issues later in life, a new study has found

Research from the University of Chicago analysed health data from 152 million people in the US and Denmark over 11 years and found a ‘significant link’ between mental health disorders and exposure to air pollution.

The study found that countries with more severe air pollution see a 27 per cent rise in citizens with bipolar disorder and a six per cent rise in citizens with major depression compared to countries with better air quality.

Andrey Rzhetsky, study author and professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago, said in a statement: “There’s quite a few known triggers but pollution is a new direction.

“Research on dogs and rodents shows air pollution can get into the brain and cause inflammation which results in symptoms resembling depression. It’s quite possible that the same thing happens in humans.”

For the Denmark-specific research, the study found adults who had lived in areas of poor environmental air quality up to the age of 10 saw a 29 per cent increase in mental health disorders as well as a two-fold increase in schizophrenia cases and higher rates of depression, bipolar and personality disorder.

While further research needs to be done, there have been criticisms in the scientific community, with John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University, stating: “Despite analyses involving large datasets, the available evidence has substantial shortcomings and a long series of potential biases may invalidate the observed associations.”

Air pollution has been a hot topic recently and earlier this month a study found that air pollution can hinder fertility in both men and women living in big cities.

Professor Simon Fishel, Founder and President of the CARE Fertility Group, told the Standard: “It has been shown for some time that pollution has devastating effects on fertility.” ... 18111.html

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:54 pm
Author: Anthea
Extinction Rebellion to take
over Manchester street

Hundreds of climate protesters planed to occupy one of Manchester’s busiest streets for four days last weekend to expose the “huge contradictions” of a city region that has declared a climate emergency while planning to massively expand its airport

The Extinction Rebellion group says that from 10am on Friday at least 750 people pledged to take over part of Deansgate, a popular area for shopping and entertainment that has illegal levels of air pollution, many more turned up

A “canvas city” is expected to be pitched on the street outside House of Fraser, with tents occupied around the clock until Monday evening for what organisers have billed the northern rebellion. A similar action in April across various sites in London, including Oxford Circus, resulted in more than 1,000 arrests.

All of the events will be open to the public and will include talks from experts, including the climate scientist Prof Julia Steinberger – one of the authors of the UN climate change report, which warned there are only 12 years left to limit global warming to 1.5C to avoid a climate emergency.

Organisers are also expecting an address by an Amazonian tribesman who is studying English in Manchester.

There will be dedicated zones within the occupied area, including the “rebel camp”, which will include art installations, a garden and activities for families and children.

Greater Manchester police (GMP) said its aim was to “facilitate the protest, whilst trying to minimise disruption to all those who work, live or who will be visiting Manchester over this period”. There will be an increased police presence in and around the city centre and across the transport network, a spokeswoman said.

The occupation is the latest headache for Manchester city council, which has come under increasing pressure after announcing plans to open a 440-space car park next to a primary school and spending £9.1m on a revamp of a key thoroughfare that will remove cycle lanes.

A recent report found motorists already occupied 59% of the transport infrastructure area in Manchester despite making 13% of the journeys. All of Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs have vowed to prioritise people over cars as the region develops. They have even signed up to a plan by Chris Boardman, the region’s cycling and walking commissioner, which pledges to “ensure all upcoming public realm and infrastructure investments, alongside all related policy programmes, have walking and cycling integrated at the development stage”.

Earlier this month residents of Ancoats, a rapidly expanding neighbourhood just outside the city centre, opened a “people’s park” on a 4-hectare (10.5-acre) site formerly occupied by the Central Retail Park, which the council wants to turn into a huge interim car park despite it being next to New Islington free school.

The people’s park is the brainchild of Gemma Cameron, a local resident with asthma who has started the Trees Not Cars campaign. “They’ve declared a climate emergency but it just feels that every single decision that has been made by the council in the moment is in complete contradiction to this climate emergency,” said Cameron. “It’s cheaper to park in Manchester than it is to get public transport and it’s unsafe for people to walk or cycle and there’s no green space.”

Next door in the Northern Quarter, the residents’ forum has consulted lawyers to challenge the council over the car park, believing it would harm the human rights and health of the people who live and work in the area. A spokesperson said the forum had found a barrister willing to work pro bono on a potential judicial review should the scheme pass planning.

Residents in both neighbourhoods have already held several protests against plans to remove the bike lane from Great Ancoats Street, the five-lane road that separates the two areas.

In June, the council announced a £9.1m “green transformation” of Great Ancoats Street, which will take out the existing cycle lanes without replacing them.

At the time, the Guardian asked the council whether it had commissioned and discarded cycle-friendly designs and was told it had not. Yet a month later, a freedom of information request by Manchester Friends of the Earth discovered that Transport for Greater Manchester had modelled an option for the council that kept the bike lanes. The council’s own scrutiny committee then castigated the plans and recommended they return to public consultation, but their recommendation was ignored.

Sir Richard Leese, Manchester’s leader since 1996, said in a recent blogpost that the Central Retail Park car park development fitted in with a parking strategy “that takes account of changing behaviour, that has the right nudges to influence behaviour”.

Yet Extinction Rebellion believes Leese and his colleagues say one thing and do another. Claire Stocks, whose VW Polo will be used to occupy Deansgate, along with a boat, as she aims to go car-free herself, said: “Greater Manchester has said it needs to reduce car journeys by 1 million a day and have 50% of all journeys made by foot, bike or public transport by 2040, yet there have not been significant enough measures to make that a reality. Richard Leese has talked about car-free days but we haven’t seen any, despite them being a quick and easy win, so we are holding a few to show how to get us started.”

Greater Manchester’s 10 councils also own large stakes in Manchester airport, which wants to increase passenger numbers from more than 25 million to 45 million by 2040.

Stocks said: “We see huge contradictions – most Greater Manchester boroughs and the GM combined authority (GMCA) have now declared a climate emergency yet Manchester airport is still expanding, and millions are still being invested in major road developments that will increase car journeys, such as Great Ancoats Street in Manchester.”

Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, insisted the council was serious about tackling climate change. He said councillors had set a target of making Manchester a zero carbon city by 2038 or earlier and was working on a detailed Zero Carbon Action Plan, due to be approved in March 2020.

“Latest data, from 2018/19, shows that the Council has almost halved its carbon emissions from a 2009/10 baseline – a drop of 48.1%, exceeding the 41% by 2020 target we had set ourselves. But the declaration of a climate emergency recognises that the council and the city can and must do more,” he said.

In a statement, the GMCA said: “Greater Manchester is a city-region with a proud history of protest and we are aware that Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police and other agencies are engaging with the organisers to better understand their intended action whilst trying to minimise disruption to all those who work, live or who will be visiting Manchester over this period. People across our city-region will still be travelling in to Manchester city centre for work and leisure this weekend and we hope that the protestors will bear them in mind during their protest.” ... te-protest

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:58 pm
Author: Anthea
"The timetable is shrinking": Protesters take to streets to demand action on climate change

Environmental activists took to the streets of Weymouth to raise awareness and to demand action on climate change

Extinction Rebellion (XR) held a 'Day of Action' in the town centre on Saturday, during which protesters and a samba band marched through the streets and onto the Esplanade.

Members of the group also drew chalk messages on the streets as well as staging street theatre and other visual displays around the town. There were also tide lines in chalk on walls, demonstrating where tide lines could rise to by 2099 based on predictions from climate scientists.

As well as the action on the streets, members of the group also offered informative film screenings in St Mary's Church.

The group aims to raise awareness for the causes and effects of climate change.

Gail Quilter, from XR Dorchester and Weymouth, said that rising sea levels could leave large parts of the town flooded if global temperatures continue to rise at the current rate.

She said: "Our number one purpose is to raise awareness. Dorset Council and Weymouth Town Council have declared a climate emergency. This is huge, that is serious. Why do people not know about this if it is an emergency? People need to know. That is why we're here.

"It is all about being friendly and fun and showing people that we are all normal people.

"In 20 years time, I don't want my children to say to me, 'Mum, why didn't you do more?'"

Retired doctor Alastair Macdonald, 72, who is involved in the movement, said: "Quite a lot of people are signing up for the mailing list. People are enquiring. Enquiry in the long term can lead to action.

"People are getting more and more concerned about it. The timetable is shrinking."

Fiona Marlow, 50, who was handing out flyers for XR, said: "We have a lot of positive feedback. We have given out a lot of leaflets. It has not all been positive, but I think it has been good. We are trying to have a conversation."

At the head of the procession was a boat decorated with the words 'ACT NOW' in large letters.

Many Weymouth residents who came to observe the demonstration reacted positively to the protest.

Cherie Whitley said: "I have had a look at what they are doing and I think it is brilliant. We can make a difference if we actually do something."

People looking to find out more about the group can attend their 'Heading for Extinction' talk tonight in the Park Community Centre at 7pm.

People's Assembly in the afternoon

After the procession, Extinction Rebellion arranged a 'People's Assembly' in St Mary's Church, where members of the public were invited to participate in a discussion.

The event was attended by Cllr Graham Lambert of Weymouth Town Council and Cllr Louie O'Leary of Dorset Council.

Attendees were split into groups in which they were presented two questions, "What did you get from today’s XR action?" and "What should Weymouth do now?"

A spokesman for XR said that the feedback from the public was positive and that people understood the importance of their message.

They also said that members of the public taking part in the assembly acknowledged the need for the community to come together to act.

Penny Quilter, a local XR facilitator, said: "This is what the people of Weymouth want to do to tackle this emergency, but we need to work together with the council and government to take positive action.

"Imagine what we could achieve, and how empowering it would be for our community, if the council worked alongside its citizens to make Weymouth and Dorset the country’s leaders in addressing this climate emergency. Let’s hold a Citizen’s Assembly and do it together." ... -weymouth/

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:59 am
Author: Anthea
Vet says badger culls
caused immense pain

Up to 9,000 of badgers are likely to have suffered "immense pain" in culls to control cattle TB, according to a former government adviser

Prof Ranald Munro is the ex-Chair of an independent expert group appointed by the government to assess its trials.

He has written to Natural England to say that the policy is causing "huge suffering".

He adds that the culls are not reducing TB in cattle and in one area the incidence of the disease has gone up.

The culls began in 2012 following appeals from cattle farmers whose livelihoods are continuing to be damaged by the spread of TB.

Prof Munro's independent expert group found that up 23% of badgers took more than five minutes to die after they were shot. These figures prompted the group to conclude that the culls were inhumane in its assessment report to government. This document's publication was delayed but its contents were revealed by BBC News in 2014.

The independent expert group was disbanded by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ministers, who said that its work had been completed - though this was against the wishes of many of the experts involved, with one claiming that ministers were "wilfully" ignoring scientific advice.

Speaking ahead of the expected announcement of new culling areas for 2019 later this week, Prof Munro estimates that 40,000 badgers have been culled so far which according to the expert group's figures equates to thousands of them dying slowly.

"The numbers are huge, they really are. If you look at the likelihood of not dying within five minutes of being shot, you are looking at 3,000 badgers having suffered immense pain at a minimum. It could be as high as 9,000. There is a huge issue of suffering in these badgers."
Cattle Image copyright Reuters

Prof Munro's remarks come as he and 19 other vets, scientists and animal welfare campaigners wrote to Natural England, the body that oversees the culls.

A freedom of information request by the group has shown that as the number of cull areas has increased over the years, the environment watchdog's monitoring staff have been spread ever thinner.

In 2014, 20% of culls were supervised by Natural England staff. In 2018, it was able to monitor only 0.4%.

"The terms of the roll-out of the culling have not been adhered to," Prof Munro said.

"They are saying 'oh yes, we are observing'; but they are observing at a level which is of no value whatsoever in determining the humanness of culling and whether badgers are being injured or how long they are taking to die."

An NFU spokesperson said that the rates of suffering quoted by Prof Munro were out of date.

"Those involved with the cull take their responsibilities very seriously and have all taken part in rigorous training. The Chief Vet has said that contractors continued to show high levels of discipline and compliance with the best practice guidance that governs the culls.

"No-one involved in the organisation and management of a targeted badger cull as part of the government's TB eradication strategy would recognise the figures being talked about today. They appear to be an extrapolation of data from seven years ago and bear no relation to the safety and humaneness levels being recorded today.

"We believe the science and evidence due will show a positive impact on bovine TB incidences in cattle."

Weight of science

The FOI request also revealed that in the very first cull area, in Gloucestershire, which could be among the first to see benefits if there are any from the policy, the number of new herds confirmed to have TB increased from 10 in 2017 to 23 in 2018.

This single increase in one year in one area is not sufficient to show that the culls are not working. More data and expert analysis will be needed to determine their effectiveness one way or another.

But the experts and campaigners write in their letter: "We are unconvinced that the culling of large numbers continues to be justified in the view of recent data showing zero disease control benefits after six years of culling of badgers in Gloucestershire."

A Natural England spokesperson said: "We help to implement the badger culling policy under the direction of Defra and in line with decisions taken by ministers. We are in the process of reviewing the badger cull applications for 2019 made under that policy and will communicate decisions in due course.

"One of our roles is to independently consider licence applications to cull or vaccinate badgers, and we take policy advice from Defra when deciding if the activity will deliver effective disease control. Licensing is not done lightly and those involved in the cull - farmers, contractors and Natural England staff - take the welfare of badgers very seriously." ... dDZBzC54cA

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:16 am
Author: Anthea
Old enemies in the Amazon
unite to save their land

Kayapó and Panará, once rivals, have united against the policies of the Brazilian government

While the world's attention has been focused on the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, indigenous people living there have warned that the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro pose a bigger threat to their existence.

Rival groups have now come together to fight the government's plans for the region that is their home, as BBC News Brasil's João Fellet reports from the Amazon village of Kubenkokre.

Dozens of indigenous people gathered in this remote part of northern Brazil last month after travelling for days by bus and boat.

The meeting brought together formerly sworn enemies such as the Kayapó and the Panará.

The two groups were at war for decades, raiding each other's villages in tit-for-tat attacks. The warring came to a brutal end in 1968, when an attack by the Kayapó, who came armed with guns, left 26 Panará, who only had arrows to defend themselves, dead.

Tensions remained high for years but according to those gathered in Kubenkokre, the two sides have now overcome their animosity for a greater goal.

"Today, we have only one enemy, the government of Brazil, the president of Brazil, and those invading [indigenous territories]," Kayapó leader Mudjire explained.

"We have internal fights but we've come together to fight this government."

His words were echoed by Panará leader Sinku: "We've killed the Kayapó and the Kayapó have killed us, we've reconciled and will no longer fight."

"We've got a shared interest to stand together so the non-indigenous people don't kill all of us," he said, referring to the threats posed by the arrival of miners and loggers carrying out illegal activities in their area.

'69,000 football fields lost'

More than 800,000 indigenous people live in 450 demarcated indigenous territories across Brazil, about 12% of Brazil's total territory. Most are located in the Amazon region and some groups still live completely isolated and without outside contact.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January, has repeatedly questioned whether these demarcated territories - which are enshrined in Brazil's constitution - should continue to exist, arguing that their size is disproportionate to the number of indigenous people living there.

His plans to open up these territories for mining, logging and agriculture are controversial, and any change to their status would need to be passed by the Brazilian Congress.

But it is something that worries the indigenous leaders gathered in Kubenkokre. "Other presidents had more concern for our land. [Mr Bolsonaro] isn't concerned about this, he wants to put an end to what our people have and to how we live," explains Panará leader Sinku.

"That's why I have a heavy heart and that's why we're here talking to each other."

In some demarcated areas, loggers and miners are already at work after some local indigenous leaders granted them permission.

Indigenous leader Bepto Xikrin told the gathering how some 400 miners and loggers had illegally entered the Bacajá territory since the start of the year. He said that members of his indigenous group were scared and did not know what to do.

And according to a network of 24 environmental and indigenous groups, Rede Xingu+, an area equivalent to 69,000 football fields was destroyed between January and June of this year alone in the Xingu river region.

Heavy machinery has caused major damage and the Fresco and Branco rivers that run through the region have been contaminated with mercury

Kayapó leader Doto Takakire said illegal mining had been further encouraged by the fact that it often goes unpunished.

Analysis by BBC Brasil shows the number of fines handed out by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) for environmental violations has dropped significantly since President Bolsonaro took office on 1 January.

Mr Bolsonaro has in the past pledged to limit the fines imposed for damaging the Amazon and many blame the president for Ibama's current weak position.

'We won't repeat the past'

At the meeting - which was held in both Portuguese and Kayapó - participants discussed projects for their region's economic developments which do not contribute to deforestation, such as handicrafts and the processing of native fruits.

"I'm concerned about the trees, water, fish, the non-indigenous people who want to enter our land," explained Sinku. "I don't want to contaminate the water with [toxic products from] mining... That's why I'm here."

Indigenous groups which have allowed miners on to their land were not invited, an omission which some of those attending described as a missed opportunity.

"There's no-one here who wants agribusiness or mining in their villages, so are we just going to talk amongst ourselves?" Kayapó leader Oé asked.

The fires which have been burning across the Amazon were not a big topic of debate at the gathering, in part because they have mainly happened outside protected indigenous reserves but also because those gathered consider illegal mining and logging as more pressing threats.

"We won't repeat the past," Kayapó leader Kadkure concluded. "From now on, we'll be united."

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:05 pm
Author: Anthea
Dirty secret gas
boosts climate warming

It's the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, and emissions have risen rapidly in recent years, the BBC has learned

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road.

Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom.

Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations.

It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2)

Just one kilogram of SF6 warms the Earth to the same extent as 24 people flying London to New York return.

It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years.
So why are we using more of this powerful warming gas?

The way we make electricity around the world is changing rapidly.

Where once large coal-fired power stations brought energy to millions, the drive to combat climate change means they are now being replaced by mixed sources of power including wind, solar and gas.

This has resulted in many more connections to the electricity grid, and a rise in the number of electrical switches and circuit breakers that are needed to prevent serious accidents.

Collectively, these safety devices are called switchgear. The vast majority use SF6 gas to quench arcs and stop short circuits.

"As renewable projects are getting bigger and bigger, we have had to use it within wind turbines specifically," said Costa Pirgousis, an engineer with Scottish Power Renewables on its new East Anglia wind farm, which doesn't use SF6 in turbines.

"As we are putting in more and more turbines, we need more and more switchgear and, as a result, more SF6 is being introduced into big turbines off shore.

"It's been proven for years and we know how it works, and as a result it is very reliable and very low maintenance for us offshore."

How do we know that SF6 is increasing?

Across the entire UK network of power lines and substations, there are around one million kilograms of SF6 installed.

A study from the University of Cardiff found that across all transmission and distribution networks, the amount used was increasing by 30-40 tonnes per year.

This rise was also reflected across Europe with total emissions from the 28 member states in 2017 equivalent to 6.73 million tonnes of CO2. That's the same as the emissions from 1.3 million extra cars on the road for a year.

SF6 explainer

Researchers at the University of Bristol who monitor concentrations of warming gases in the atmosphere say they have seen significant rises in the last 20 years.

"We make measurements of SF6 in the background atmosphere," said Dr Matt Rigby, reader in atmospheric chemistry at Bristol.

"What we've seen is that the levels have increased substantially, and we've seen almost a doubling of the atmospheric concentration in the last two decades."

How does SF6 get into the atmosphere?

The most important means by which SF6 gets into the atmosphere is from leaks in the electricity industry.

Electrical company Eaton, which manufactures switchgear without SF6, says its research indicates that for the full life-cycle of the product, leaks could be as high as 15% - much higher than many other estimates.

Louis Shaffer, electrical business manager at Eaton, said: "The newer gear has very low leak rates but the key question is do you have newer gear?

"We looked at all equipment and looked at the average of all those leak rates, and we didn't see people taking into account the filling of the gas. Plus, we looked at how you recycle it and return it and also included the catastrophic leaks."

How damaging to the climate is this gas?

Concentrations in the atmosphere are very small right now, just a fraction of the amount of CO2 in the air.

However, the global installed base of SF6 is expected to grow by 75% by 2030.

Another concern is that SF6 is a synthetic gas and isn't absorbed or destroyed naturally. It will all have to be replaced and destroyed to limit the impact on the climate.

Developed countries are expected to report every year to the UN on how much SF6 they use, but developing countries do not face any restrictions on use.

Right now, scientists are detecting concentrations in the atmosphere that are 10 times the amount declared by countries in their reports. Scientists say this is not all coming from countries like India, China and South Korea.

One study found that the methods used to calculate emissions in richer countries "severely under-reported" emissions over the past two decades.

Why hasn't this been banned?

SF6 comes under a group of human-produced substances known as F-gases. The European Commission tried to prohibit a number of these environmentally harmful substances, including gases in refrigeration and air conditioning, back in 2014.

But they faced strong opposition from industries across Europe.

"In the end, the electrical industry lobby was too strong and we had to give in to them," said Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout, who was responsible for the attempt to regulate F-gases.

"The electric sector was very strong in arguing that if you want an energy transition, and you have to shift more to electricity, you will need more electric devices. And then you also will need more SF6.

"They used the argument that otherwise the energy transition would be slowed down."

What do regulator say about the gas?

Everyone is trying to reduce their dependence on the gas, as it is universally recognised as harmful to the climate.

In the UK, energy regulator Ofgem says it is working with utilities to try to limit leaks of the gas.

"We are using a range of tools to make sure that companies limit their use of SF6, a potent greenhouse gas, where this is in the interest of energy consumers," an Ofgem spokesperson told BBC News.

"This includes funding innovation trials and rewarding companies to research and find alternatives, setting emissions targets, rewarding companies that beat those targets, and penalising those that miss them."

Are there alternatives - and are they very expensive?

The question of alternatives to SF6 has been contentious over recent years.

For high-voltage applications, experts say there are very few solutions that have been rigorously tested.

"There is no real alternative that is proven," said Prof Manu Haddad from the school of engineering at Cardiff University.

"There are some that are being proposed now but to prove their operation over a long period of time is a risk that many companies don't want to take."

However, for medium voltage operations there are several tried-and-tested materials. Some in the industry say that the conservative nature of the electrical industry is the key reason that few want to change to a less harmful alternative.

"I will tell you, everyone in this industry knows you can do this; there is not a technical reason not to do it," said Louis Shaffer from Eaton.

"It's not really economic; it's more a question that change takes effort and if you don't have to, you won't do it."

Some companies are feeling the winds of change

Sitting in the North Sea some 43km from the Suffolk coast, Scottish Power Renewables has installed one of world's biggest wind farms where the turbines will be free of SF6 gas.

East Anglia One will see 102 of these towering generators erected, with the capacity to produce up to 714MW (megawatts) of power by 2020, enough to supply half a million homes.

Previously, an installation like this would have used switchgear supplied with SF6, to prevent the electrical accidents that can lead to fires.

Each turbine would normally have contained around 5kg of SF6, which, if it leaked into the atmosphere, would add the equivalent of around 117 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is roughly the same as the annual emissions from 25 cars.

"In this case we are using a combination of clean air and vacuum technology within the turbine. It allows us to still have a very efficient, reliable, high-voltage network but to also be environmentally friendly," said Costa Pirgousis from Scottish Power Renewables.

"Once there are viable alternatives on the market, there is no reason not to use them. In this case, we've got a viable alternative and that's why we are using it."

But even for companies that are trying to limit the use of SF6, there are still limitations. At the heart of East Anglia One sits a giant offshore substation to which all 102 turbines will connect. It still uses significant quantities of the highly warming gas.

What happens next ?

The EU will review the use of SF6 next year and will examine whether alternatives are available. However, even the most optimistic experts don't think that any ban is likely to be put in place before 2025.

Link to Article - Photos:

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:28 pm
Author: Anthea
Arctic glaciers shrinking
by 300m each year

Glaciers in the Arctic are shrinking by as much as 300m a year, a Scottish-based research team from the Scottish Association for Marine Science near Oban used robot submarines to study glaciers in the west of the Svalbard archipelago in the Norwegian Arctic

SAMS scientists have been studying the area's glaciers for two decades.

Dr John Howe, leading the team, said the Arctic was probably warming faster than any other part of the planet.

He said: "There have been studies by satellite looking at the loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

"But we're interested in the role of glaciers, and in particular why glaciers are retreating and how they behave under these warmer conditions."

Dr Howe's team found Svalbard's glaciers are retreating by as much as 300m each year.

This is not merely the result of rising air temperatures. A relatively warmer ocean and local conditions in the fjords are also having an effect.

"Warm water that used to be there is now washing the front of the glacier," Dr Howe says.

"The warm water is there because of the shape of the seabed.

"Water is able to get into the fjords, and that warmer water is promoting the collapse and therefore the retreat of this ice."

That ice melts when it gets warm is no surprise but, writing in the journal Marine Geology, the team say they found an unexpected consequence.

A plume of cold, fresh meltwater had been expected to protect the front of the glacier from the warmer seawater.

But it's not.

Instead it floats on the surface of the ocean, drawing seawater to the front of the glacier and accelerating the melting process.

The research has immediate implications for wildlife, fisheries and shipping.

But Dr Howe says there are even bigger considerations as the research adds to science's understanding how a warming Arctic is driving change in the sea level.

"If you lose the Greenland ice cap, which is currently pinned by the glaciers, there's this notional seven metre rise in sea levels," he said.

To make the detailed measurements underpinning the Svalbard study, the team had to get their instruments as close as possible to the point where the glaciers meet the ocean.

But as glaciers melt they "calve" great chunks of ice into the sea, causing huge waves. That's not the sort of thing to keep the health and safety-conscious happy.

So SAMS has been using something that has transformed their work in recent years: a robot.
Robot submarine Image copyright Sams

It has a fleet of them, some with wings that 'glide' through Arctic waters for months and beam their data back by satellite.

This one, though, is distinctive.

"It's like a yellow torpedo, a submarine," says Dr Howe.

"It can 'fly' close to the glacier front and make these measurements while the boat stays a good kilometre away - safely away from the falling ice."

If the warming of the Arctic continues, robot subs may not be needed. As the glaciers retreat, Dr Howe warns they will no longer meet the sea at all.

"Rather than being dominated by a white-blue walls of ice at the head of the fjord, it'll be a river."

SAMS is based at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, and is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The work was funded by the Norwegian Research Council and led by the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Link to Article - Stunning Photos:

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:45 am
Author: Anthea
UK badger cull extended
to unimaginable scale

The controversial badger cull in England has been expanded to an “unimaginable scale”, according to a leading expert who warned the government is paying far too little attention to the transmission of tuberculosis between cattle when they are traded

Ministers approved culling in 11 new areas on Wednesday, taking the total to 43. Up to 64,000 animals are likely to be killed this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year.

TB infections in cattle blight farms and cost taxpayers more than £100m a year in compensation payments. But scientists and conservationists oppose the cull, saying there is little evidence it is effective and is being badly run.

The cull started in 2013 in Gloucester and Somerset and takes place in 43 areas, from Cornwall to Cumbria. A proposed cull in Derbyshire, where a badger vaccination programme has been taking place, was not approved.

“Bovine TB remains the greatest animal health threat to the UK,” the farming minister, George Eustice, said. He added that there was no single measure to beat the disease, with tighter cattle movement controls, improved biosecurity on farms and badger vaccination all required.

A large-scale trial of badger culling that ended in 2006 indicated that a minimum of 70% of a badger population must be killed for a cull to be effective. If fewer are culled, disruption of badger social groups can lead to TB being spread more widely.

However, the culls must not kill every badger either, so minimum and maximum numbers are set. This year’s minimum is 37,482 and the maximum is 64,400. Culls now cover 90% of Wiltshire, 84% of Devon, and 83% of Cornwall.

“The culls have expanded to unimaginable scales, covering an area larger than Israel,” said Prof Rosie Woodroffe, an ecologist at the Zoological Society of London, one of the team that conducted the earlier large-scale trial.

“I cannot understand why the government has permitted this massive expansion of badger culling, when it has not yet responded to the Godfray Review it commissioned and received nearly a year ago,” she said.

“The review concluded the government and farming industry were paying far too much attention to badger management, and far too little attention to cattle-to-cattle transmission, which is responsible for the majority of TB incidents in cattle.”

The review also called upon government to properly evaluate badger vaccination as a non-lethal alternative to culling, Woodroffe said. “Ministers regularly call for the conservation of wildlife in other countries, but refuse to invest in helping their own farmers to coexist with wildlife.”

Eustice said the government would fully respond to the review in the near future.

Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust, said: “This year will take the number of badgers killed since the cull started to over 130,000, pushing the species to the verge of local extinction in areas of England which it has inhabited since the ice age.

“The public costs of the badger cull are estimated to exceed £60m by the end of 2019, yet the government has provided no evidence to prove this cruel slaughter is having any significant impact on lowering bovine TB.”

Arthur Thomas, the campaigns manager at the animal welfare group IFAW, said: “The expansion to the badger cull is not only a tragedy for British wildlife, but also for our farmers,. The government’s decision flies in the face of scientific evidence.”

Bill Harper, the chair of the National Beef Association’s TB committee, said he believed the decision to turn down the application to cull in Derbyshire was purely political. Prime minister Boris Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, is an opponent of the cull. “It is almost like Boris Johnson is saying, ‘Oh right darling, we will not allow that one’,” Harper told Farmers Weekly.

Prof Ranald Munro was the chair of an independent expert group appointed by the government to assess the first culls, which is now disbanded. He said up to 9,000 badgers are likely to have suffered “immense pain” as a result of the culls. ... dfd_Jq7Uqk

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:27 pm
Author: Anthea
Call to stop badger massacre
as cattle TB rises in cull zones

Latest data ‘not released until Defra announced 60,000 animals would be killed in 2019’

Tuberculosis levels in cattle have risen in the original two areas of the country where the badger cull has been piloted over the past five years, raising questions about the merit of expanding the scheme.

The figures are confirmed in official data quietly released last week as the government announced plans to expand the controversial cull in England, which campaigners say could see more than 60,000 badgers killed this year.

The figures suggest that, following some early success in bringing the levels down, bovine TB is now on the rise in the zones, in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Analysis by the vet and former government scientist Dr Iain McGill, who led calls for a public inquiry into the BSE scandal, reveals that the proportion of herds with bovine TB in the Gloucestershire pilot zone increased from 6.9% at the start of culling to 9% over the five-year period.

The rate of occurrence of new confirmed bovine TB cases – known as the incidence rate – was 13.2% last year, compared with 12.7% when the cull began in 2013.

In Somerset, the incidence rate declined, but the disease has become more widespread across herds. The official data shows that the proportion of herds with bovine TB increased from 6.1% when culling started to 6.7% at the end of last year. Defra chooses not to focus on the five-year data. Instead, it points to an earlier report that found a decline in bovine TB in the first two years of the cull.

“The government had all of the data but only released it simultaneous to the announcement on Wednesday of the massacre of up to 62,000 badgers,” said McGill, who has called for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the cull.

“That they could have tried to hide this data in order to justify such a massacre of protected wildlife, whilst referring glibly to data from 2015 in support of their case, is corrupt and criminal. Defra have manipulated and hidden scientific data to such a degree that it amounts to systemic scientific fraud.”

A Defra spokesman said: “Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK, causing devastation for hard-working farmers and rural communities.”

He pointed out that “detailed analysis on the effect of culling in the first two cull areas over the first two years showed a 58% reduction in the disease in cattle in the Gloucestershire badger control area and a 21% reduction in Somerset after two years of badger control compared with un-culled areas.”

The spokesman added: “There is no single measure that will provide an easy answer to beating the disease. That is why we are pursuing a range of interventions to eradicate the disease by 2038, including tighter cattle movement controls, regular testing and vaccinations.”

The government has licensed more than 40 culling zones across England. But Defra said it was too early for the other cull areas to show a drop in new cases of TB. ... RjWJpltkfM

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:44 pm
Author: Anthea
EPA moves to end animal testing

The likely outcome of the EPA announcement will be to spare hundreds of thousands of animals from having chemicals rubbed onto their skin, dropped in their eyes or forced down their throats

In a landmark announcement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced plans to end all animal testing on dogs, mice, rabbits and other mammals for chemicals and pesticides in coming years. Instead, the agency will focus on investing in nonanimal alternative technologies that are more reliable and do not cause animal suffering.

The EPA plans to substantially reduce animal tests, including those it commissions in-house as well as those that it requires businesses to conduct, by 2025, and to end them altogether by 2035. The agency will also devote $4.25 million to the development of non-animal technologies (also known as new approach methodologies, or NAMs) at five universities. These approaches could include organ-on-a-chip technologies, cell cultures, computer modeling and other methods that are faster, cheaper and more predictive than time-consuming animal tests.

The agency’s decision to stop using results from mammal studies for approval of new chemicals will further spare even more animal lives. Companies seeking approval for a new chemical will be required to seek the consent of the EPA in order to carry out animal tests.

Today’s announcement follows the 2016 revision by Congress of the Toxic Substances Control Act – a law that regulates chemical safety in the United States. At that time, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund successfully advocated for key provisions, which mandated that animal testing should be minimized and non-animal methods and strategies developed and prioritized. The likely outcome will be to spare hundreds of thousands of animals from having chemicals rubbed onto their skin, dropped in their eyes or forced down their throats.

We have also lobbied the U.S. Congress to support increased appropriations for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and its Computational Toxicology Program, to explore the use of mathematical and computer models to help assess chemical hazards and risks to human health and the environment. In a bipartisan approach, members of Congress have consistently prioritized key funding for these non-animal technologies.

In recent years, the EPA has taken decisive steps to reduce the use of animal testing for both chemicals and pesticides, and we are grateful to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for his continued commitment in this regard. In 2016, the agency released a guidance document allowing pesticide manufacturers to waive the need for skin toxicity tests by accepting information already obtained through other tests, and published a letter to stakeholders expressing its goal of significantly reducing the use of animals in acute toxicity tests for pesticides.

In 2018, the EPA released a policy encouraging the use of non-animal test methods for determining whether pesticides and chemicals cause skin allergies. As part of the updated TSCA, the EPA, in 2018, published a strategic plan to promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods. The overall effect has been one of steady, sweeping progress toward a long-cherished goal for animal protection advocates – the end of experiments that cause pain and misery to animals.

We are excited to see the EPA reinforce its commitment with today’s pathbreaking announcement, which heralds a new era for animals in laboratories. We urge other government agencies, industries and stakeholders to join with the agency to end animal testing by investing in development and implementation of non-animal methods. The results will be improved human safety, more accurate and timely results, a better environment, and an end to animal suffering. ... PEDwCLLE2c

Suggest using ISIS for testing

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:20 am
Author: Anthea
Faster pace of climate
change very scary

The increased frequency and intensity of wildfires in Spain may be one outcome of climate change

Extreme events linked to climate change, such as the heatwave in Europe this year, are occurring sooner than expected, an ex-chief scientist says.

Prof Sir David King says he's been scared by the number of extreme events, and he called for the UK to advance its climate targets by 10 years.

But the UN's weather chief said using words like “scared” could make young people depressed and anxious.

Campaigners argue that people won't act unless they feel fearful.

Speaking to the BBC, Prof King, a former chief scientific adviser to the government, said: “It’s appropriate to be scared. We predicted temperatures would rise, but we didn’t foresee these sorts of extreme events we’re getting so soon.”

Several other scientists contacted by the BBC supported his emotive language.

The physicist Prof Jo Haigh from Imperial College London said: “David King is right to be scared – I’m scared too."

“We do the analysis, we think what’s going to happen, then publish in a very scientific way.

"Then we have a human response to that… and it is scary.”

Petteri Taalas, who is secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said he fully supported UN climate goals, but he criticised radical green campaigners for forecasting the end of the world.

It’s the latest chapter in the long debate over how to communicate climate science to the public.

Greta Thunberg thinks that action comes from people feeling a sense of panic

Will emotive language leave young people depressed?

Dr Taalas agrees polar ice is melting faster than expected, but he’s concerned that public fear could lead to paralysis – and also to mental health problems amongst the young.

“We are fully behind climate science and fully behind the (upcoming) New York climate summit", he said.

“But I want to stick to the facts, which are quite convincing and dramatic enough. We should avoid interpreting them too much.

“When I was young we were afraid of nuclear war. We seriously thought it’s better not to have children.

“I’m feeling the same sentiment among young people at the moment. So we have to be a bit careful with our communication style.”

The Telegraph reports that psychologists working with the University of Bath are counselling growing numbers of young people suffering from eco-anxiety.

However, some scientists appear to believe that their communications in the past have been failing to provoke an emotional response that would convince the public to act.

Do scientists agree climate change is scary?

We tested Prof King's views with the main authors of the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), published in 2014.

The consensus among those who replied was that climate models had accurately forecast the rise in global mean temperature.

But the models hadn’t been sufficiently sophisticated to foresee events like this year’s extreme European heatwave or the slow-moving Hurricane Dorian – described by Nasa as “extraordinary” and “a nightmare scenario”.

Others mentioned severe ice melting at the poles; Tasmania suffering record droughts and floods in consecutive years; record wildfires in the Arctic and an unprecedented two large cyclones in Mozambique in one year.

Changes 'anticipated for decades'

Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, told us he’d been anticipating changes like these for four decades, although he hadn't been certain when they would arrive.

“I have a sense of the numbing inevitability of it all,” he said.

Few of the scientists we contacted had faith that governments would do what was needed to rescue the climate in time.

They’re alarmed that global warming of just over 1C so far has already created a new normal in which historic temperature records will inevitably be broken more often. This is the predictable side of climate change.

Prof King argues that some changes were not well forecast.

What is the science behind extreme weather events?

The loss of land ice in Antarctica, for instance, is at the upper range of predictions in the IPCC AR5. And there are record ice losses in Greenland

Then there’s this year’s French heatwave.

Extreme and sustained temperatures in France in July led to droughts in some areas

Dr Friederike Otto from Oxford University is an expert in the attribution of extreme events to climate change.

She told us that in a pre-climate change world, a heatwave like this might strike once in 1,000 years.

In a post-warming world, the heatwave was a one-in-a-100 year phenomenon.

In other words, natural variability is amplifying human-induced climate heating.

“With European heatwaves, we have realised that climate change is a total game-changer,” she said. "It has increased the likelihood (of events) by orders of magnitude."

Researchers had not yet had time to investigate the links between all of the major extreme weather events and climate change, she said.

With some phenomena such as droughts and floods there was no clear evidence yet of any involvement from climate change.

And it was impossible to be sure that the slow progress of Dorian was caused by climate change.

'We can’t wait for scientific certainty'

Prof King said the world could not wait for scientific certainty on events like Hurricane Dorian. “Scientists like to be certain,” he said.

“But these events are all about probabilities. What is the likelihood that (Dorian) is a climate change event? I’m going to say ‘very high’.

“I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but what I can say is that the energy from the hurricane comes from the warm ocean and if that ocean gets warmer we must expect more energy in hurricanes.”

He continued: “If you got in a plane with a one in 100 chance of crashing you would be appropriately scared.

“But we are experimenting with the climate in a way that throws up probabilities of very severe consequences of much more than that.”

Hurricane Dorian was packing sustained winds of 295km/h (185mph) when it made landfall

Should the UK bring climate targets earlier?

Prof King said the situation was so grave that the UK should bring forward its date for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases to almost zero from 2050 to 2040.

Prof John Church from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia told us: "Some things appear to be happening faster than projected. This may be partially related to the interaction of climate change and natural variability as well as the uncertainty in our understanding and projections.

“In my own area of sea level change, things are happening near the upper end of the projections.

“What is scary is our lack of appropriate response. Our continued lack of action is committing the world to major and essentially irreversible change.”

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:13 pm
Author: Anthea
As the world shifts to renewable
energy, so should Kurdistan

The world is steadily reconsidering the use of environmentally destructive fossil fuels and is starting to move towards renewable sources of energy. The Kurdistan Region, with its abundance of high mountain winds and sunlight exposure, can make the shift, while its large deposit of natural gas can be used in the transitional period between fossil fuels and renewable energy

In the span of four days, 15,000 academics and experts, 70 ministers, and government officials from 150 counties in the world discussed the latest changes in the world’s energy sector at the 24th International Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi. A Rudaw Media Network team covered this high profile event.

In the past 10 years, natural disasters, a rise in global temperatures, and climate changes have increased concerns over how to prevent a further deterioration of the weather and how to control the consequences of such an event.

To provide itself with energy, especially electricity, humanity has depended on energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas for more than two centuries, leading to great pollution and changes in weather.

The use of these energy sources, known as fossil fuels, have had an impact so widespread that this year’s Congress has called for a decrease and control in their usage.

According to scientific studies, the use of fossil fuels to produce electricity is one of the main sources of the production of harmful carbon dioxide gas, of changes in weather, and of earth getting warmer.

The Paris Climate Accord

In 2015, 196 international countries and parties signed the Paris Climate Accord in a promise to put serious effort into curtailing harmful gas emissions to prevent the earth’s temperature rising by two degrees Celsius. Should that increase happen, the northern and southern ice caps would melt, increasing sea levels and submerging numerous coastline cities, among other consequences.

The main paradox within the Accord is that countries need to produce electricity, and that need increases by the day with the expansion in population and in economic growth. So how do we work on decreasing harmful gas release when the release of these gases runs parallel to industrial and economic growth?

The answer is to change our energy sources to those that have no or little polluting impact on the environment. This would be the outcome that the Accord has termed the “Great Revolution”.

The Great Energy Revolution

The use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) is 78 percent responsible for the earth getting warmer. This percentage grows annually with increasing usage of these fuels. Changing our dependence on them, however, is not easy. Transforming the world’s current energy system will lead to a huge change in all aspects of life, as all aspects of modern life are energy dependent.

The reason why World Energy Council experts have labeled this era as one of huge transformation is because they say that by the year 2040, a great transitional period of energy from fossil fuels to cleaner sources will start.

The biggest challenge in this era will be how the current energy infrastructure, designed with fossil fuels in mind, will be adapted for new fuel sources. This great task will fall on the shoulders of industry, and on large, oil-producing companies, who have to prepare themselves for the transitional period and change the direction of their investment.

Renewable Energy

Non-fossil fuel energy sources including wind power, solar power, waves, hydrogen fuels and other sources, are known as renewable energy. Some years ago, the cost of electricity production using these renewable sources was many folds higher than that of fossil fuels.

However, with the help of technology and continuous innovation, there is currently great hope that electricity production through coal will come to an end - not only in America, but elsewhere in the world as well - to be replaced with renewables.

According to scientific reports, the use of renewables is no longer a mere environmentalist gesture; it also business-oriented, profitable. It is expected that the cost of electricity production using renewables will drop even further by 2020.

Currently, the cost of producing one kilowatt of electricity by burning fossil fuels is anywhere between $0.05 and $0.17 per hour. However, according to the latest estimates, the electricity production cost through renewables will be anywhere between $0.03 and $0.10 by 2020.

Another issue with renewable energy sources is that the amount of electricity produced varies seasonally. As such, the transmission and distribution of their electricity is not an easy task.

Again, however, industrial innovation in the sector has made it possible for surplus amounts of electricity to be stored in times of abundance, to be used when electricity production is at a lower rate.

Here, both the German giant Siemens and the American General Electric are leading the pack. Combining renewables with fossil fuels, they have been able to deliver a cleaner, stable electricity supply for users.

The Importance of Natural Gas

Natural gas is a type of fossil fuel. Interesting though, it does not pollute the environment as much as coal and oil do.

Significantly, harmful gas production is 20 percent lower with natural gas than with oil, and 50% less so compared to coal.

According to the International Energy Council, natural gas will have to replace coal and oil products such as gas oil.

It is in this transitional energy period that the Kurdistan Region will hold an important position, because it is rich in natural gas. Besides meeting domestic industrial demand energy, it can export to other countries too.

The Role of Technology

The transitional period of energy has started. Oil, gas and coal are no longer the only valuable and strategic assets from which countries produce electricity. Countries can now make use of the wind, sun, waves and other sources that are infinite to produce a considerable portion of their electricity.

This rapid change has been brought about because industry and technology have rendered electricity production through renewables cheaper, and their cost will drop even further, lower than that of current electricity generation sources, in the future.

Big international companies have already started making huge investment in renewables. Even the large banks and funds that used to make large investments in oil and gas are now shifting that investment towards renewables.

The holding of the International Energy Congress in the UAE, which produces over three million barrels of oil per day, indicates that even oil-rich countries have to prepare themselves for that truth. This is the reason why Gulf countries have made huge investments in this sector. They are currently leading the global pack in terms of renewables project size and investments.

The Kurdistan Region will also have to more seriously assess this matter and diversify its energy sources. We were told by the CEO of the Finnish company Kiwayt, Christo Boneo, that the Kurdistan Region’s good sun and wind exposure can be harnessed for solar and wind energy - if it has a good plan, prepares itself, and keeps aware of the latest changes.

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:48 am
Author: Anthea
Just had to share this delightful news :D

Grizzly bear injures three Montana
hunters in less than 12 hours

    Authorities said three hunters were injured in two separate bear attacks that occurred within 12 hours of each other Monday west of the Gravelly Mountains

    The first incident happened around 7.30am when two elk hunters from New Mexico startled a sleeping adult male grizzly west of Black Butte

    Both men said they were injured by bear, but one of them drove the animal off with bear spray while it was attacking his hunting partner

    Two additional hunters were rushed by a grizzly around 6.30pm

    One man was injured before his companion drove the bear away

    Officials still aren't sure if both attacks involved the same bear
Blood trickled down the face of a Montana hunter Monday morning after he was attacked by a grizzly bear suspected of injuring three out of four men in less than 12 hours near the Gravelly Mountains :ymapplause:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials and a witness said the first attack occurred around 7.30am when two elk hunters from New Mexico who were walking south from Cottonwood Creek surprised a male grizzly that they suspect was sleeping west of the Gravelly Range's Black Butte peak.

The men said the predator charged at one of them before either man could raise a gun, let alone fire a shot.

'So few people realize just how fast grizzlies are. The bear was on top of one of the men and the other one was able to get to his bear spray,' Shedhorn Sports store employee Terri James told NBC Montana after the victims visited her store and shared their story with her on Monday.

Both men eventually escaped back to their vehicle where one hunter snapped a photo of the other's bloody face before they drove to a local hospital.

Blood trickled down the face of a Montana hunter after he was attacked Monday morning

The man's hunting companion used bear spray on the grizzly to drive it off. They traveled to a local sporting good store in their hospital scrubs to purchase new clothes after seeking treatment for their injuries

The Black Butte mountain peak in the Gravelly Range in rural Montana where four hunters were attacked by a grizzly bear on Monday

After getting patched up, they traveled to James' sporting goods store to purchase new clothes.

Two additional hunters heading north toward Cottonwood Creek were attacked by a grizzly around 6.30pm the same day, officials said.

This time only one of victims was injured before the two men were able to drive the bear away somehow. The hurt hunter received medical treatment at two separate facilities in Sheridan and later Butte, Montana, authorities said.

Wildlife officials still aren't sure if the two attacks involved the same grizzly. They reminded travelers to be wary of bears during the spring, summer and fall months.

Visitors to the region are advised to be prepared and aware of their surroundings and to carry and know how to use bear spray.

'Travel in groups whenever possible. Stay away from animal carcasses,' wildlife officials wrote in a statement on their website. 'Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations. If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area.'

Link to Article - Photos: ... hours.html